Retinal Gene Therapy and Implant Surgery

Retinal Gene Therapy and Implant Surgery in Chattanooga, Knoxville, and the Tri-Cities Region

As a leading retina practice serving Tennessee and the Tri-Cities region, the retina specialists of Southeastern Retina Associates are innovators in the field of retinal care and research, with access to the latest innovations and treatment protocols. Learn more about the next generation of retinal care.

Retinal Gene Therapy

Gene therapy is one of the most exciting trends currently being explored in modern medicine. Retinal gene therapy may hold promise for treating ocular diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa. Approaches include:

  • Gene replacement or augmentation, in which a healthy copy of a damaged, non-functional gene is added to boost protein production
  • Gene silencing, which involves suppressing problematic genes,
  • Gene editing, which corrects or reduces genetic mutations to alter diseased states
  • Modifier gene therapies, which utilize genes that influence disease expression and severity, enabling multiple changes in one treatment

Retinal gene therapy is still in its infancy, but the progress that has been made thus far has been promising. More research is needed, as we continue to explore potential obstacles stemming from long-term effects and immune response.

Retinal Implant Surgery

Long considered the gold standard of care for many retinal diseases, intravitreal injections are largely effective because of their ability to administer medication directly and precisely inside the eye. However, the introduction of surgical retinal implants presents a potential evolution in this technique.

In contrast to the need for multiple injections, retinal implant surgery offers the prospect of continuous medication delivery over a predetermined period. For instance, the FDA-approved ILUVIEN implant, designed for treating diabetic macular edema (DME), provides a sustained, low-dose release of fluocinolone acetonide, addressing inflammation and swelling directly at the retina for a remarkable duration of up to 36 months. This breakthrough exemplifies a notable advancement in retinal care, promising enhanced convenience and efficacy in treatment.